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I think I live in the Matrix [29 Jun 2010|09:41pm]
No details because I don't really care to go into it all, but it seems that the annual-ish total upheaval of my life is due to happen more-or-less on schedule. It's nice when the universe is consistent, although it kind of makes me suspect that I live in The Truman Show or something.  A really boring, really nerdy version of the Truman Show. (Have I mentioned that I'm kind of self-centered?)
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BP: EPIC FAIL [15 Jun 2010|08:09am]
So all I really have to say about the horrific ongoing disaster in the gulf coast is that it's becoming apparent that they cut a lot of corners at BP.  And, look, I make pretty much minimum wage. My job is one of those jobs that people tend to say things like "a monkey could do that job." But if I don't do my job right, people can get food poisoning and possibly die. This doesn't happen because even when I slack off at my job, I don't cut corners on the things that threaten lives. (For the record, I may occasionally cut corners on things like "Eh, there's probably enough drinks in the lobby refrigerator already." Where if it turns out I'm wrong, the horrible consequence is I have to go get more drinks out of the back! *shock* *horror*
And I'm a fast food peon.

Now, I have no idea what it takes to work on or inspect an oil rig. It doesn't sound like a job I'd want to have. But it's becoming clear that a lot of people at BP weren't doing their jobs properly. And that's not cool,  because it's the sort of job that, if not done properly, has horrible and widespread consequences.

And can we at least all agree on this: it's a really freaking bad idea to cut corners when horrible disaster is at stake.

So, in conclusion, BP=Epic Fail.
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Weird [30 May 2010|01:58am]
You know what's totally weird?
Another side-effect of the antidepressants that I'm taking has been a slight but noticeable reduction in my sex drive. OK, that's not the weird thing. It's a documented side-effect. The weird thing is that I've actually noticed it. I mean, given that I'm celibate and quite possibly asexual and all. The whole sex thing is just kind of a non issue for me. I don't really care about it. But the moderate drop in my libido has still been noticeable, if not anything to be particularly concerned about.

The side-effects of drowsiness and constant yawning, on the other hand, I could really do without.
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Status Report [27 May 2010|10:42am]
So I've been on antidepressants for a few months now. It's... different than I thought it would be.

I feel better, yeah. Less crying spells, less feeling like I want to yell at people for really trivial stuff, less feeling like just getting through the day is to hard to do every single day of my life.

But I still don't have hope for my future. I don't have dreams. My long-term view is as cynical and empty as ever, I just don't feel as bad about it. It's kind of a strange way to live.

Plus there's the drowsiness, which is kind of a pain.
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On angry customers [07 May 2010|06:07pm]
So the thing about working somewhere is that you're kind of there a lot. Like, pretty much every day, for most types of jobs. This includes, believe it or not, people who work at restaurants. Yes, even fast food! So when an angry person comes in and rants to the management about how they "eat here all the time" and now that we've done something to piss them off (usually by not giving them something that we don't sell in the first place or some other equally inane thing*), they're "never going to eat here again! And neither will any of their friends! And we'll lose a lot of business!!!!!!"

But here's the thing: we, the people who work there, know that you don't, in fact, eat at our restaurant all the time. Because we're pretty much there every day and we recognize our regulars. We know who they are. We would be sad to lose them. But if we don't recognize you, then all you're accomplishing by telling us that you're never coming back is making us all happy that we won't have to deal with you again.

*Instances where we've genuinely messed up someone's food do happen but for some reason we mostly tend to get loud angry yelling rants about stuff that we either didn't actually do or have no control over.

Somebody finds a hair in their food or something, and it's usually "Oh sorry, we'll make you another one" and they're like "OK, cool." But we stop serving a limited-time special offer menu item that has been clearly marked and advertised and such and people are like "YOU RUINED MY ENTIRE DAY BY NOT HAVING THIS ANYMORE!!!" I wish I was kidding.
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Update [11 Apr 2010|11:10am]
Still here. Actually taking antidepressants now! But I haven't noticed any change yet. Side effects continue to be annoying.
Been working a lot. Well, relatively a lot. I'm still only part time, so a really busy week for me is like 30 hours. Of course, 30 hours of work is plenty enough for the eczema on my hands to make me miserable from the constant hand-washing.
Just sort of feel like my whole life isn't going anywhere. I have no direction, no plan, no dreams. Just the next week of the work schedule. And, well, friends.

So yeah. Life goes on. Nothing really new. Also, customers still annoying.
Um, I filed my own taxes for the first time ever? Still not making enough to actually owe taxes. Bleh. I mean, I want to pay federal taxes. Then I can look at the highway system and the school system (okay, bad example) and all the other infrastructure stuff they buy and say, "I helped build that!"
Yeah, I'm weird.
I guess I can console myself with the fact that I'm not helping to pay our soldiers to shoot Reuters employees in the Middle East.

On the weird front, I'm probably the only person in my financial situation who also intends to spend half my paycheck on making extra car payments so I can pay the whole loan off in a year. Then again, I also pay my credit card bill off in full every month. I guess watching my family's income fluctuate wildly due to circumstances beyond our control over the years has made me wary about owing money in the future when there's never a guarantee that you'll have money then.

Yeah, that was a bunch of random stuff. Anyway, that's all for now.
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Re: depression [05 Apr 2010|01:51pm]
Well, since the new healthcare bill should let me go back on my parents' insurance for awhile, I've gone to a doctor about my depression, finally. I need to switch doctors; I don't like mine. But that's beside the point. I just started taking the pills today so I can't tell if it's helping me yet. I am, however, already experiencing the side effects. Joy. Nausea, in my case. The kind where you feel like someone just kicked you in the stomach. The stronger antibiotics tend to do the same thing to me, so it's not an entirely unfamiliar sensation. Probably would have helped if I'd remembered to take the medication with food.

Anyway, just a quick note on how I'm doing.
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Change? We Hope? [22 Mar 2010|10:10am]
Well, looks like we might get some kind of health care reform after all. Huzzah!
I mean, no, it isn't the strong bill I would have liked, socialist that I am.
But now I at least have some chance of getting some kind of healthcare in the next 4 years even if my job search continues to be completely fruitless. Because my current job is part-time and just flat-out doesn't have benefits.
So I'm tentatively happy about this bill passing.
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Nerd anecdotes [18 Mar 2010|04:32pm]
You know you're a huge nerd when you can say "So do I need to bring my lightsabers* to D&D tonight?" with a straight face.

You know you're a huge linguistics nerd when, having just returned from purchasing both a shiny new copy of Dragon Age: Awakenings and a shiny new copy of Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf, you go for the Anglo-Saxon epic poetry first.
Granted, the entire story in Dragon Age exists in the literary tradition that Beowulf is pretty much the granddaddy of. So yeah.

*Firefox dictionary doesn't recognize "lightsaber"? For shame, Firefox.
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Why oh why do I ever try to understand pop music? [18 Mar 2010|11:07am]
I'm not entirely convinced that Lady Gaga isn't, in fact, some kind of postmodern deconstruction of pop music.

... also, ludicrously earwormy. Good lord.
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Not gone, just working [13 Mar 2010|03:21pm]
Blargh. Called in to work for the 3rd time this week. Of course, that's what happens when there's a bunch of illnesses going around and you've only got 8 people in your workforce, but still. And it's spring break, so one of our people is taking the whole dang week off for a road trip...
AND we've been super-busy because of a combination of a Big Sales Campaign and a bunch of local sporting events, so everybody's been having to stay late, particularly on the weekends, for the past few weeks.

So that's where I've been. And that's all I'm saying, because I have to leave for work in 15 minutes. (It was either go in on my day off or let a sick coworker work a 9-hour shift and, yeah, I'm not that heartless.)
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[12 Mar 2010|11:35am]
RE: "Kids these days don't read"

Two words: The Internet

Addendum: I mean, I can get though a decent-sized novel in a couple of hours. I've spent DAYS on tvtropes alone.

(Of course, the argument has always been "Kids don't read what we want them to read, which... yeah. Since forever. Took you this long to notice?)
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Need my own space, part infinity of infinity [02 Mar 2010|01:27pm]
So I'm the first to admit that I'm not the easiest person to live with. Depression makes my moods unpredictable and it can be hard to tell what's going to throw me into an anxiety meltdown. I know this. I don't blame people for finding it frustrating and getting tired of it.
But is it really too much to ask that my frickin' parents - you know, the people who raised me and who have lived with me for a good twenty-odd years and all - be at least sensitive enough to how I act when I'm having bad days depression-wise to not bring up the stuff that predictably makes it worse? Because at least one of my parents, while supposedly accepting that depression is something I struggle with, tends to bring up the stuff that stresses me out on days where I'm already struggling, with laser-like precision. They just seem to have no concept of all of "now is not the time to bring that up" and I'm getting really goddamn sick of it.
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Article of Faith [21 Feb 2010|10:32am]
So let's try this again.

I was born and baptized into religious ferver. I was told by everyone I trusted until I believed it so deep that I almost couldn't question it, that there is a God and God makes the rules and we, lowly fallen beings that we are, follow those rules Or Else.
The Authoritarian view of humanity and religion.

That's not what I believe anymore. I've known too many human beings. Couldn't live with the cognitive dissonance anymore, had to change.
I don't believe in God or gods or even some nebulous Life Giving Force or whatever.

This is what I believe: I am an intelligent, thinking being and, by extension, so is every other human being on this planet. 
I don't believe in any kind of Saved and Unsaved. No priests, no enlightened few. Just people. Roughly 7 billion of us, trying to live our lives.
And it's, well, fucking beautiful sometimes and fucking disgusting at others.

But if I have a faith at all these days, this is it. Sort of the Golden Rule turned sideways. Not so much "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" as "Be good to others because there is no difference between you and them." In its broadest sense, of course.

My faith has only the two tenants:
1. You are human
2. So is everybody else

And therefore, if I deserve or need or want rights or freedom or love or justice or anything at all, these things ought to be for everyone. There are no distinctions based on class, race, sex, sexual orientation, or any other thing you can think of. We're all human. We all deserve equal dignity. End of story.

And really - though I don't often meet this ideal - the thing that makes life worth living is ensuring that dignity and justice and freedom and opportunity and everything else is provided to as many people as possible.

Pessimist though I am, my highest ideal is lofty indeed. I want nothing less than the highest good for the most people. In practice, this mostly means trying to treat everyone I meet with equal dignity regardless of any differences between us. It means speaking up for oppressed people when they can't speak for themselves. It means trying to understand other people's points of view.

And I'm out of time but I think you get the picture. I've said all this before anyway, but it's been on my mind today.
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Carpocalypse: I Was A Slave to The Man [17 Feb 2010|12:24pm]
So.. found a car. I feel... vaguely sick? And glad that it's over. And rapidly getting very tired of people who expect me to be excited about all this. OK, I'm also relieved to have found a better car than I thought I was going to, even if I had to go to the very top of my budgeted price range. But that's it, really.

I still don't like cars. I'm still the person who didn't really want to get their driver's license at 16 but did anyway because of family emergency situations. So other people are all "Woo, your first car! Aren't you excited?" And I'm like: "No."

Then again, people who know me should have realized by now that I generally don't get as excited as I'm supposed to about any kind of cultural milestones. (Hell, my reaction to graduating from college was less "Yay!" and more "existential freakout.") I got pushed into getting my first job and I hated it. Got my current job on my own initiative and I did feel pretty good about that, considering the job market around here. My reaction to graduating from high school was pretty much "People think this is some kind of accomplishment? I practically did it in my sleep; what are y'all so damn emotional about, here?" Really, the accomplishment I feel the most proud of is managing to claw my way out of my childhood religious conditioning and I'm still half in the closet about that.

But back to the original point: No, I'm not happy or excited about buying a car, except insofar as it means I can now get to work on my own. It serves a purpose but it isn't anything to get excited about. Really, I mourn the fact that I can't get a job somewhere I wouldn't need a car, if anything.

I suppose that this, among so many other things, merely serves to further illustrate the point that I really, really don't fit in here.
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Carpocalypse Returns [15 Feb 2010|11:13am]
So you know how when you've been doing something forever, you forget how it is not to know that thing?

Shoelaces are a good example. Ever try to teach a kid how to tie shoelaces? You're likely to suddenly realize that you can't explain it because it's just so automatic that it's all muscle memory and you never have to think about how you tie them anymore.
Touch typing is like that for me. My father never learned how so he's still using the hunt-and-peck method and it kinda drives me up the wall because typing is so ingrained for me that when I'm trying to think about how words are spelled, my fingers move like I'm typing that word.

Apparently, for my father, routine car maintenance stuff is like that. No surprise there. But I've never owned a car. So when I'm trying to go look at used cars and my father is all like "You just have to check X, Y, and Z before you buy anything," I'm like "Okay, I can check X but I don't know where Y is and I've never even heard of Z. What's a Z and how do I check it?" And he just looks at me like I'm nuts for not knowing this stuff but of course I don't know it because I don't like cars and I've never owned one.

But of course, he's been a car-owning person for something in the ballpark of 30 years now so all that stuff is automatic for him. And he's never been very good at explaining things in layperson's terms.

And I'm really not digging the experience of having to deal with used car salesmen (aren't there any used car saleswomen? I haven't seen any yet) and being asked to evaluate something I don't understand.
I mean, I know that I want a car and not a truck and it has to be an automatic because my standard-driving skills are just this side of nonexistent and I want it to get good gas mileage but beyond that, it's like "Hey, what about this car?" And I'm like "Yep. That's a car, all right."
Gack. I think I've discovered the only thing less fun than shoe shopping. (I'm picky about shoes and most of the stuff I like doesn't get made in my size. It's a bit... frustrating.)
And people are all "Just get a car you like" and I'm like "What part of 'I am against cars in general. I dislike the entire notion of cars' do you not grasp?" Also, since I have virtually no understanding of how the damn things work, I'm pretty much just throwing darts while blindfolded and hoping I don't get something that will break down right away, since I'm not going to have any money to fix it with after I buy the damn thing.


AND I'm having to beg rides from people to and from work until I find a car because I live too far away to walk (okay, not really. It's 3 miles. Doable but not fun, and I'm pretty sure my parents would have a fit if I tried it, especially in the middle of the coldest winter in decades.) And I can't bike because I'm currently on the night crew and it's illegal to bike after dark without a light - which I don't have and, again, even if I did, my parents would have a fit about me biking in the cold and dark - never mind that I biked or walked EVERYWHERE for two years while I was away at college.

So I just have to bite the bullet and get a frackng car. Bleh.
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On Languages and music [14 Feb 2010|02:18pm]
Here's something I don't think I've talked about here before: I like to listen to music in languages I don't understand. Oh, I listen to plenty of music in languages I do speak but I seem to have a much larger collection of foreign-language music than even the music buffs of my acquaintance. And I'm no music buff. I have very little musical training of any kind (okay, I was in my high schools a cappella choir for a year, but that's about it.)

I have pretty eclectic taste in music to begin with but since I overheard someone a few weeks ago asking why people listen to music that they can't understand the lyrics to, I thought I would explain why I do.

For one thing, I'm a linguistics buff and I get a kick out of just listening to other languages. Just experiencing the different rhythms and phonemes of a new language is fun for me.

And also, when you can't understand the sense of a language, it becomes a kind of music, all on its own. When combined with actual music, the voice becomes just another instrument, the sound completely separated from the sense. It's something that's enjoyable to a certain type of mind, I suppose.

And then, also, I love language as a whole so I've been inspired to pick up bits and pieces of other languages after being exposed to them through music.

There's also the possibility of just liking the musical style of something and being willing to listen to it no matter what the spoken language is.

So there are a few reasons someone might listen to music in a language that they can't understand. I'm sure there are plenty more out there but these are mine.
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Carpocalypse [12 Feb 2010|02:54pm]
So.... circumstances in my life have very quickly and unexpectedly converged so as to make it necessary for me to buy a car very soon. Like within two days. And I'm having a full-on depressive anxiety meltdown hissy fit about it, complete with bursting into tears over nothing and everything else. Trying not to but it doesn't help.

First, I'm against car culture and everything it stands for. I hate the idea of near-mandatory car ownership. I've spoken before about how it really is difficult-to-impossible to live where I do without a car. So actually owning one, while necessary, feels like betraying my principles on that level.
Plus, it's another stupid coming-of-age thing that I resent and think is stupid. I mean, I don't think that coming-of-age rituals in general are stupid, I just think that the modern-day US ones are. Oh, goody, now I'm adult enough to dump a huge amount of cash into something that destroys my planet! Hurrah! Freedom and apple pie!

Plus, there's the fact that one of my parents has decided that my resistance to car ownership is all about me being "afraid of responsibility," which I am not. What I am afraid of is being, well, in charge of something I don't understand and cars are really something I don't understand, disliking them as I do.

And there's also the fact that I don't really deal well with changes that happen quickly, so having circumstances conspire to force me into something that I don't want to do in the first place without sufficient time to process what it means to me (as per my last post) is stressful to me. Hence my meltdown, which is fricking embarassing. Especially given that my parents are like "Woo! Let's go get you a car! Why aren't you excited about it?" (Er, not to say that they're paying for it. I am. Although they've talked me out of my plan of paying it off in full upfront, since I do have to build credit somehow. And I've known for a while that I was probably going to have to get one sooner or later, over my objections, so I've put a fair amount of cash away for it. I just hoped to have more than 3 days for the actual car-buying process.)

And it sounds so damn stupid to say "No, of course I'm not excited about getting a car. It's wiping out the entirety of my liquid assets and betraying some of my deeply-held principles in one fell swoop. And I feel fucking rotten about it." Bleh, depression. I'm always stepping on other people's happiness. It sucks. And I know I'm probably being unreasonable about it all but I can't help it. And I don't like that.

I really hate the way depression takes these things that are rightfully only medium-level stressful things and blows them way out of proportion. I know that it's unreasonable but I can't help feeling the way I do about it.

On the other hand, I haven't had a meltdown like this in a couple of months now so it could be worse.
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On personalities [11 Feb 2010|12:07pm]
Another reason I need to move out of my parents' house.

My mother is a do-er. I'm pretty sure she sees the world as basically a checklist of Things To Be Done.

I'm a... an experiencer? Not a feel-er, certainly, since "How I feel about things" is typically "depressed." But I do tend to see things as Experiences on Life's Journey, rather than as Tasks to be Completed.

So when something that I'm supposed to do comes up, my mother tends to try to push me into Doing Something About it Right Away, while I'm still trying to process it emotionally. (And I'm rather slow at processing things emotionally and I can't always logic situations into making sense until I've figured out What Does This Mean To Me.) This process, of course, makes no sense at all to my accomplishment-driven mother. She's the kind of person who can't watch a movie without folding laundry or knitting. I'm the kind of person who can't fold laundry without first placing laundry-folding into the emotional and chronological mental map of my day/week/whatever.
I'm also somewhat routine-dependent and New Things sort of have their own time and mental space for me but it just doesn't make sense to other people when I try to explain that "I can only deal with new problems between, say, 3 and 8 pm. (Unless I'm having an unusually good day, mental stability-wise.)

And it becomes quite frustrating to have someone trying to force me to Make An Action Plan, while I'm still in "Have coffee, check news, reaffirm that the world is relatively stable through normal morning routine" mode. It doesn't help that she's utterly a Morning Person and I'm a Late Afternoon Person.

This sort of thing is why I really think I'd be better off living alone. When my emotional processing time doesn't get interrupted as much, I actually get more done.
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On mandatory cheerfulness [11 Feb 2010|10:21am]
Right. So I have depression but I've never seen a doctor for it. I'm prone to typing about it at length on this blog.
I also work in fast food. These are, shall we say, not two great tastes that taste great together. 

Among the reasons for this is the fact that certain people expect service workers to be cheerful all the time. I just can't do that. I mean, yes, I can pretend to be happier than I am sometimes but it takes a certain amount of mental energy - mental energy that's better off going towards things such as: not cutting my fingers with the bread knife, not dropping people sandwiches on the floor, and remembering what people said they wanted. You get the picture. I don't have the capacity to do my job efficiently AND plaster on a huge fake happy persona at the same time.

But sometimes we get customers who seem... I dunno.... offended? by my lack of cheer. Or, worse yet, people who decide that I'm "having a bad day" (that's bad decade, actually, thanks) and that it's their job to cheer me up. Please, please don't do this.  It's annoying and it feeds into the lie that depression is something the depressed person can just "snap out of."
This whole thing usually gets started when people respond to my "what do you want on your sandwich?" with a trying-to-be-friendly "how are you today?"  Now look, I know you're trying to be nice and all but I really hate that question. To be fair, it's probably just me. I have a hard time parsing it as just a social nicety, even though I know that that's what it is. And I know I'm supposed to respond with "Great!" or whatever, but that feels like lying to me and I can't bring myself to do it. So the answer I'm probably going to give is "okay." Now, for me, "okay" is good. That's a good day. "Okay" is: "I'm here at work, doing my job, not curled up in bed crying for no reason." (Not that I would ever, ever skip work just because I'm having a bad day, depression-wise. My Inner Puritan would never let me, as that would be a sign of weakness and letting the body triumph over the soul/mind and all that BS that I know isn't true but that my gut still believes anyways.)

Problem is, certain people just won't accept "okay" as a valid answer to "How are you today?" These people are the bane of my existence.
Listen, if you must ask service workers how their day is and they answer with something like "fine" or "okay," DO NOT EVER say "just okay? What's wrong?" or some variation thereof. Unless you actually know the person outside of work. Because, IF something is wrong, it's none of your business.

And I really, really, really hate trying to come up with an answer to "You're just okay? What's wrong" that isn't: "I'm mentally ill and can't afford treatment, okay? So back off!"

The whole thing is annoying. And it happens, if not every day, then at least a couple of times a week.

I've concluded that I just need a large sign around my neck that says "Clinically depressed and cannot afford treatment." Although that would probably just lead to more annoyingly invasive questions from random strangers.
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